Interpersonal Skills: Why They Are Vital and How to Improve Them

There are a number of key skills for jobs that will help you climb the ladder to success. However, your interpersonal skills encompass many attributes that are highly sought after by employers. So, what are interpersonal skills? Why are they important? And how do you improve them?

What are interpersonal skills?

Quite simply put, your interpersonal skills define your ability to interact and work with others. They form the basis of your people skills and are also closely linked to your emotional intelligence.

Rather than considering them as one skill, the term ‘interpersonal skills’ incorporates many different, equally important skills. Your interpersonal skills include:

  • Communication skills
  • Listening skills
  • Demonstrating a positive attitude
  • Your ability to pay attention
  • The body language you display
  • Your manners
  • Self-confidence
  • Your negotiation skills
  • Plus, many more!

Think of interpersonal skills as ‘gateway’ skills. Without them, you are unlikely to develop further inside or outside of work.

Why are they important?

As most jobs will require some level of teamwork, collaboration or liaison, your interpersonal skills will always come into play. It’s hard to imagine a job or working environment without them. Effective communication relies heavily on these skills – take them away and things would soon fall apart!

They also affect your personal life. Think about making friends, finding a partner or even getting a good deal on a new car. All of these things require you to use your interpersonal skills, meaning that they are just as important out of the office.

For job hunters

If you’re job hunting, it’s likely that potential employers will want to see that you possess good interpersonal skills.

It’s true, hard skills and experience are important. However, soft skills such as your communication skills, problem-solving and team working abilities are just as valuable. You use them constantly, even without realising it. So, don’t forget to include them in the body of your CV or talk about them during interviews.

How to improve your interpersonal skills?

The great thing about any skill is that you can always improve. Interpersonal skills are an amalgamation of many different types of skill. This means that there is so much you can do to strengthen them.

The first step to take involves self-reflection. Take the time to evaluate yourself, refer to the interpersonal skills list above and identify your strongest and weakest areas. Where do you need to improve? What more can be done? How will you implement and measure the necessary changes?

There is such thing as being too close to the problem. If you’re struggling to identify areas for improvement, talk to a manager, colleague or friend. A fresh pair of eyes will give you a brand-new perspective and valuable insight into how others view you.

Review your interpersonal skills regularly, this will allow you to stay on top of your game!

Bringing it all together

Interpersonal skills are essential for both your career and your personal life. They are the glue that holds any sort of social or professional communication together. Your manager wants to see them, any potential employer will want to see them, your loved ones want to see them. There’s only one thing for it – let them show!

Your interpersonal skills are so much more than one skill and, if you stay self-aware, you can keep improving them. Do so and you will soon see the benefits.

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